Fantasy Fiction

5 Dragons I Would Love to Meet

Over at Wyrmflight (see note below!), blogger debyfredericks took on a challenge that is being passed around WordPress right now: list five fictional characters you’d like to meet. Since she writes about dragons, she chose five dragons, and I’ve decided to pick up the theme and share my own top five. There are many classic dragon books that I haven’t yet read, as well as some well-deserving dragons that I’ve probably forgotten, but these are the ones who came to mind.

 
Without further ado, here are five dragons I would love to meet:

Toothless thd Dragon

Toothless, the misnamed dragon. Image borrowed from the How to Train Your Dragon wiki.

#5: Toothless—Hiccup’s beloved Night Fury from the movie How to Train Your Dragon is an obvious choice, and I couldn’t leave him off the list. He’s endearing and adorable, and sometimes I wonder what it would have been like to be the one who discovered, saved, and befriended a creature who had a reputation as a fearsome, unknown enemy. Toothless is anything but fearsome to his friends—I think he looks a little bit like a frog, and his behavior reminds me of an oversized cat.

 

 

 

 

Glaedr image

Cover art of Glaedr from the book Brisingr. Image borrowed from the Inheritance Cycle wiki.

#4: Glaedr—I have a soft spot for the idea of wise old dragons who act as mentors, which is why Glaedr from Christopher Paolini’s Inheritance Cycle wins a spot on my list. To be honest, I’m not a huge fan of Paolini’s style and never finished the series. Still, from what I saw in Brisingr, Glaedr has the maturity necessary to help shape the young, rash pair of Saphira and Eragon. His experience, wisdom, and advice are all part of the training they need in order to become the heroes they are destined to be.

 

 

 

 

 

Neverending Story cover

Falkor pictured center. Image borrowed from Wikipedia

#3: Falkor—It wasn’t that long ago that I wrote about the white luckdragon from The Neverending Story, but that should mean that it is no surprise that he makes my list. As I said then, Falkor is the kind of friend that I think everybody needs. He is wise, kind, and helpful, and even more importantly, full of joy and hope. If I ever needed to go on a difficult, discouraging quest, I would want to bring him with me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dragons of Blueland cover

Boris is pictured here with Elmer. Image borrowed from Wikipedia.

#2:Boris—Ever since My Father’s Dragon was read to me as a childhood bedtime story, I’ve wished that the cute baby dragon that Elmer Elevator befriended could be my friend, too. This brave little dragon from Blueland endures captivity, risks a daring escape, willingly helps his friends, and fights to ensure the freedom of his whole family. His family is a bunch I wouldn’t mind meeting, either—they’re all brightly colored and have similarly sweet temperaments. No fire-breathers here!

 

 

 

 

 

There's No Such Thing as a Dragon cover

Here’s what happens when a friendly, scaly, red problem gets bigger. Image borrowed from Amazon.

#1: Billy’s Dragon—I’m not sure what else to call this one. When I was very small, we had a video tape called Merry Mother Goose, with one portion dedicated to a story called “There’s NO Such Thing as a Dragon.” It’s based on a picture book that I haven’t read but really want to find. In the story, little Billy discovers a tiny dragon in his room when he wakes up one morning. He’s not sure where it came from or what to do with it, so he brings it up to his mom. His mother persists in denying the dragon’s existence, insisting that there is NO such thing as a dragon, so the little red animal grows and grows in size until he’s a giant problem that can’t be ignored. The dragon represents what happens when we pretend our problems don’t exist, but he is also an incredibly affectionate creature that, at his smallest size, would make a unique lap pet.  I wanted him when I was five, and I still want him now.

 

 

There’s my list! I would love to hear yours. Let me know if you decide to make a list (dragon or otherwise!) on your own blog. Do you think I left any important dragons out? It’s possible I haven’t read about them yet, in which case I’ll gladly take book and movie recommendations!

Come back on Thursday for my list of five dragons that I would not want to meet.

Note about Wyrmflight: Wyrmflight, the blog where I picked up this idea, is an excellent blog if you’re interested in reading more on various dragon traditions, whether in history or in fantasy. Written for an audience of both children and adults, it’s all about dragons in a way that is very similar to my vision for Dragon’s Crossing. Go check it out!

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Categories: Fantasy Fiction, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Summer Reading–Can you recommend any dragon titles?

old books photo

Are any of your old favorites about dragons?
Image from Wikimedia Commons

I apologize for the delay of this post—I had a job interview yesterday, so there were things besides dragons on my mind. I’ll try to stick closer to schedule next week; regular posting is important to me!

Wednesday was the first day of summer, and I realized that I haven’t done nearly as much reading as I would like. I was refreshing my summer (and future) to-read list yesterday, and found a lot of ambitious goals there, from the classic unabridged Les Miserables to thousands and thousands of pages’ worth of adventure in Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series. I haven’t decided whether I should start by tackling these masterpieces for the first time or by revisiting shorter favorites, but what I do know is that I’ll be doing a lot of dragon reading to keep the dragons coming to Dragon Crossing.

I have a list of dragon-related books to reread, like the My Father’s Dragon books, The Hobbit, and Eragon, as well as ones I’ve never read, such as Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern series. My list is growing, but it is still small, so I would love your suggestions.

What are your favorite books dealing with dragons, and what are some others that you wish hadn’t been written? Were there any children’s books that made you a fan of dragons, as there were for me, or did you learn to love them as a teen or an adult? I welcome your suggestions as I add Dragon Crossing fodder to my summer to-read list.

Just for fun, what are YOU reading this summer?

Categories: Children's, Fantasy Fiction, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | 5 Comments

Dragonworld: dusting off an old cover

Cover of Dragonworld

Dragonworld is full of similar black and white illustrations.
Image borrowed from Amazon.com

One of my dad’s old fantasy novels made it off the dusty basement shelf over the weekend. I was sure I had read Dragonworld by Byron Preiss and Michael Reaves years ago, but I couldn’t remember what it was about and decided to give it another go.

Dragonworld is the story of a misunderstanding—when several connected tragedies strike, the neighboring lands of Fandora and Simbala jump to conclusions and blame the other side. Can one man prevent a war? Can a young monarch maintain political stability in the midst of crisis? How can the lost secrets of the dragons possibly hold the key to ending the whole mess? These questions and others like them are the threads that run through this story, keeping the reader guessing until the last chapter.

The cover of the book claimed it was a #1 fantasy best-seller on the same level as Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. I liked the book, but I have to disagree with the comparison—while both are certainly fantasy adventures with much at stake, the writing style and characterization in Dragonworld simply doesn’t live up to Tolkien’s. It has that same “telling” feel to it that so many cheap fantasy and sci-fi books have. That’s one of my pet peeves in the genre, so let’s not get me started…

The two primary human groups in the story are simple, but very different. The Fandorans are short, simple people, mainly farmers and tradesmen. They are governed by town elders, and there is no overarching government unless a council is called. These are no hobbits, though—where hobbits prefer not to do anything sudden or rash, the Fandorans are ready to go to war against their formidable neighbors the instant they suspect them of wrongdoing. The Simbalese are the opposite: their civilization is more advanced, with mines, cities, flying windships, and a developed monarchy. In Simbala, it is political intrigue, not raw emotion, that runs rampant.

Yes, there are dragons in this book. I don’t want to spoil the story, though, so I won’t say too much. Just know that they are central to the story (even when they aren’t there), are conscious beings (not mere animals as portrayed in Beowulf or speculated by Animal Planet), and exist separate from the humans (this is not an Eragon-like relationship). Something I really found interesting is the respect of a dragon’s fire in this story—a fire that is rarely used. In Chapter XXXII, a late-appearing yet key character explains, “For the Dragonflame is not a gift to be used lightly, or for selfish ends, and never to take a life.” I appreciated this, since today’s books and movies seem a bit flame-happy, having dragons breathing fire every chance they get. In Dragonworld, such fire is not taken for granted.

Conclusion: If you enjoy the fantasy genre, simple style and all, you will like Dragonworld. There is nothing inappropriate in its content, so adventure-loving readers of all ages can safely read and enjoy it. The idea of dragons is well-handled, and it’s a fun story. Just don’t expect Tolkien.

One more fun fact—the sequel to this book was a computer adventure game from the 80’s by the same title. I’d love to get my hands on it, and I’ll let you know how it goes if I ever do.

Categories: Fantasy Fiction | Tags: , , , , , | 5 Comments

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